When Colorado defenseman Adam Foote skated the opening shift of the Avalanche’s game Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers, a bit of history was made. The contest was the 1,000th of Foote’s storied career – one that includes two Stanley Cups and 235 points (55g/180a) in 15 seasons with the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise.
Foote didn’t do anything flashy Sunday night, but that’s never been his game. Paired with Brett Clark on the Avalanche blue line, Foote skated for 19:20 against the Oilers while recording three hits and blocking three shots.
The 37-year old was originally drafted in the second round (22nd overall) by Quebec and made his NHL debut on Oct. 19, 1991 when he suited up for the Nordiques against Detroit at the Quebec Colisee.
|It was business as usual for Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote Sunday night. The blueliner brought his typical, hard-nosed game to the ice while playing in his 1,000th career NHL game |
Just under 17 years later, Foote has cemented his legacy as one of the most talented backliners in franchise history and one of the league’s top shutdown defenders. Not only that, Foote brings elements of leadership, grit and passion to both the ice and the Avalanche locker room.
“He’s a heck of a leader. You can feel the aura around him. He’s won before and knows what it takes to win,” said fellow assistant captain Ian Laperriere. “Footie was a big part of those Cup-winning teams. He brings maturity to your team and a lot of stability. He doesn’t every panic and always knows what’s going on because he’s seen it before.”
Foote becomes the 40th active player to reach the 1,000 game milestone and the 14th current NHL defenseman. However, Laperriere believes the way Foote approaches the game makes his achievement even more extraordinary.
“It’s more impressive because of the way he played those 1,000 games,” said Laperriere. “He’s played a physical game throughout his career and never changed his style. That’s a pretty incredible feat.”
By appearing in the contest, Foote also tied Hall of Fame forward Michel Goulet
for second place in franchise games played with 813. Foote has already made more regular season and postseason (164) appearances than any other defenseman in franchise history.
“He’s a winner. That says a lot about his character,” said Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth. “He’s been around a long time and he’s gained a lot of respect. It’s a great accomplishment in this league, I believe, to play a thousand games. He deserves every game and every moment of it. Hats off to him.”
The secret to Foote’s longevity?
“Probably listening to Patrick Roy’s advice when I was about 30, which was get disciplined within your system, take care of your body and yourself,” said the Avs defenseman. “I think when you play this long everybody’s got some nagging, chronic things that bother them but you just get used to it.”
He’s a great player and a great leader, and 1,000 games is quite an achievement. We’re glad to have him back in Colorado – where he started his career and where he belongs." - Avs captain Joe Sakic
With 1,000 games already under his belt, Foote believes he can tack on quite a few more before eventually hanging up the skates. As long as he’s healthy and still enjoying the game, you can expect to see the Toronto native in Colorado’s lineup.
“I feel good, we’re having fun. This is a really fun dressing room and nobody panics in here. If I feel this way I’m going to continue,” said Foote. “We have a lot of depth and that makes it a lot easier. I haven’t played with a guy like Clark in a long time, so that makes it a lot of fun for me.”
The Avalanche will honor Foote’s achievement in a special pre-game event next Thursday when the Avalanche returns home to host the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:00 p.m.